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Written by Jay Smith and Matt Ruddick
Tiny Whoop creator
I Am the AMA
As seen in the December 2017 issue of
Model Aviation.

Jay Smith: How did you get involved with model aviation?

Jesse Perkins: I’ve been flying RC airplanes since I was a kid, but the hobby was reawakened when my parents bought me a Proto-X for Christmas three years ago. I truly fell in love with flight, and as soon as possible [I] was flying all kinds of quadcopters, and eventually flying FPV.

From there, I went on to found Team BIG WHOOP with Chris Fischer and Jordan Temkin (who is now the two-time world champion of “Drone Racing League” on ESPN2). We began traveling around the world to compete in drone races.

When traveling in the United States, we noticed the same top pilots traveling to all of the events, so we started DroneHaus, which was pretty much an Airbnb house that we’d fill with top pilots at the various events. We all became as close as family, and every night we would fly and race micro drones around the house.

The evolution of those micro drones gave birth to Tiny Whoop. Since Tiny Whoop became popular around the world, I’ve created along with Tiny Whoop Musician Ben Shepard, and I am now a full-time pilot and online retail store owner.

JS: How has model aviation impacted your life and/or career?

JP: Model aviation impacted my life in a truly amazing way. Since the birth of the Tiny Whoop movement, I’ve been able to focus on flight full time, flying around the world and meeting amazing people.

The community we’ve helped create is packed with positive, helpful, and innovative people. Every day I hear more stories of kids, significant others, fathers, and mothers getting into the hobby and spreading the joy of the gift of flight.

JS: What disciplines of modeling do you currently participate in?

JP: I am currently working hard on micro drone innovation, namely Tiny Whoop. Every week, we hear of new technologies and innovations that allow Tiny Whoop pilots to see significant improvements, such as longer and faster flights, better video transmission, more control over the aircraft, and other new features.

I also run the Tiny Whoop Micro FPV Pilots of the World Facebook group, which is currently 21,000 pilots strong and growing quickly. Managing that group keeps me in touch with all of the new ways these thousands of pilots innovate and modify the Tiny Whoop platform. It’s incredible!

JS: What other hobbies do you have?

JP: When I’m not flying or managing, I love hanging out with my amazing girlfriend, Liz, and her two kids. We get out into the Rocky Mountains for hiking and camping every chance we get, and play tons of silly games together. In addition to having fun with those three, I love to juggle balls and pins, as well as play banjo and other stringed instruments.

JS: Who or what has influenced you the most?

JP: As mentioned, my parents really changed my life when they bought me my first little quad, but I have to say the biggest influence on my career as a drone pilot has been my team, Team BIG WHOOP. Jordan, Zachry Thayer, Travis McIntyre, Chris Fischer, Christian Petersen, and Christian Avedon are the best teammates and friends a guy could ever ask for. They are unbelievably passionate about flight and consistently ride the cutting edge. Without their help, friendship, support, and loyalty, I would simply be a different person today. Liz is also amazingly supportive, constantly encouraging me to fly everywhere we go.

JS: What kind of impact do you think the Tiny Whoop has had on the hobby?

JP: It’s hard to overstate the impact Tiny Whoop has had on the greater FPV hobby. Every top pilot I know flies a Tiny Whoop, and tens of thousands of pilots around the world got into model aviation with a Tiny Whoop. Benedikt Haak, the godfather of micro flight and owner of Micro Motor Warehouse, said recently that Tiny Whoop is the most-flown quad on the planet, and I believe it.

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